Contact: superninjamommy [at] gmail [dot] com

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A New Direction.

And now for something completely different....

I've never had a plan. The future? That was always impossibly elusive, unplannable, unattainable. I certainly never planned for my own future - in high school, when everyone else was thinking about college or careers, I was thinking about maybe hitting up Taco Bell for lunch. When people asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I could see nothing. I honestly could not see a future for myself; I planned to not plan, I planned to do what it took to survive, but nothing more.

I started having babies right after high school, and any plans I would have made, had I made them, would be put on hold indefinitely. I never thought about the future, or if I did, it was in the abstract: Someday, when my kids are grown, I'll go hiking in Northern California, or, Someday, when I'm an old woman, I'll live in a cottage and feed birds.

I never really sat down and thought about what I could do with my life. I mean, I always told The Hub that when the kids are all in school, I'd like to get me a little job somewhere, maybe working at the gas station or something. It never really occurred to me that I could do anything else.

I did go to college, briefly. I don't know why I went. I studied medical assisting, which as it turns out, is a pretty disgusting field to be in, and all the medical assistants out there get my full respect, because I could never do it. I racked up almost twenty grand in student loans before realizing that medical assisting was not the path for me. And so, I quit school and had a bunch more kids and lived my life in the here and now, spinning my wheels, not really getting anywhere.

And then, Monkey was born, and my eyes were opened to who I really am, and what I really can be. See, before him, I was just floating along, never really did anything of any import. I had babies, but I didn't really deliver them. They were delivered of me, not by me. I was an idle bystander, one minutes a pregnant woman and the next minute a mom, and never doing anything to bridge the gap.

But now I know. Now I know that I am a strong, capable person. I can give birth, which is what my body, being genetically female, was ultimately created to do. I can do it flawlessly and painlessly, just the way nature intended. I am a force to be reckoned with.

I thought that I would write a book about how I had a painless birth, and the simple, easy technique I used. I worked on my book. I wrote almost all of it, in bits and pieces, but it still didn't feel right. I felt like I had this great knowledge to share with other mothers - knowledge that many other writers have tried to impart through various books and videos and techniques, but that was somehow lacking.

I thought, the only way I can teach this is to get out there and teach people!

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm enrolling in an educational program at the Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery, with the ultimate goal of becoming a labor doula.

But my idea goes a lot further than helping a mom in labor. I want to help mothers throughout their pregnancies. What if, instead of cramming childbirth education into 6 week classes, we could teach mothers one on one, in their own homes, on a weekly basis? What if we could help mothers prepare for breastfeeding and diapering and all the other things new mothers must learn, alongside preparing them for childbirth? After all, birth is simply the catalyst that turns us into mothers. No one is ever there to teach us about all the other things. And not only that, but at the end of this intensive, 16 (ish) week course, the mother and I would be very well acquainted, which means I can give her even better support during labor.

I am also very interested in helping women at lower income levels gain access to the quality care that those at higher income levels enjoy. Not being rich should not be an impediment to achieving the birth you desire. I knew I wanted a doula when I was pregnant with my children, but their services were cost-prohibitive for our budget. Most doulas do offer lower cost or even free services for those who need it, but until Monkey, I didn't know that. And I'm sure there are many other women in the same boat.

I can envision myself meeting with clients during the morning, and coming home to care for my children in the afternoon and evening. I can see myself helping mothers with their labor surges, holding their hands and rubbing their backs. I am so excited to get started, I can hardly stand it.

I can't believe it, but I think, at nearly thirty years of age, that I've finally made a plan for myself.


Jenny said...

Congratulations on the new plan! I think it'd be great to get to know a childbirth educator/doula over time, especially for a first-time mother. It'd be like having a sister or mom to teach you things, except these days most people's moms and sisters don't know anything about natural/attachment parenting and homebirth. Mine didn't (and I don't have a sister). I did have an amazing childbirth educator and a midwife/friend who helped me SO much.

Jenni said...

Congratulations! Sounds wonderful.

Stuff On My Blog said...

Right on, very super ninja kinda plan there! 30 is the new 20 anyway *gryn* I'm 38, and yep, I'm planning on assaulting a university near me for a nursing/midwifery degree (I'm certifiably insane going for a double degree, but wtf, it's just one more year)

I'm like you, I have 5 children.. I KNOW about childbirth and how disempowering, but also how amazingly empowering it CAN be. I want to help other women know that.
You'll kick butt at this (cause that's what ninja's do ;)

Anonymous said...

Congrats! That sounds amazing.

Lisa said...

Good luck! I hope it works out as you have envisioned!

Rachel said...

Live in Texas? I am expecting and would love a doula!

Audra said...

Way to go! It's amazing what giving birth can do! After struggling through breastfeeding with extreme supply problems (thyroid related) and PPD/anxiety and coming out on the other end (just weaned at 16 months due to being dry from pregnancy), I decided to start by blogging about the truths about breastfeeding to get more good and real information out there and then to work towards becoming a lactation consultant.

Your story was beautiful - what a way to get in touch with your body and yourself.